Tag Archives: PsyBlog

College Freshman Survival Guide (Part 4- Dealing With Being Homesick) – I miss my mommy, daddy, puppy AND my own bed

5 Oct

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Sorry for the hiatus (again), final semester of classes is insane, so is trying to find a job. Ahhhh! Hope you all have been surviving the semester and enjoying the last few days of relatively nice weather. However, if you are counting down the days till Thanksgiving Break (48 days in case you weren’t) and feeling a little homesick, still. I am here to help; it’s Super Sam!  Just kidding, but really, I am pretty awesome. Some people could not wait to get out of their hometown and away from their PIA (see first definition) parents; some actually still meant it after being away for a month or so. I could not wait to go to college, I started classes 10 days after I graduated high school in a summer program. Then about three weeks in, it hit me, and I was ridiculously homesick and bawling. I am not embarrassed to admit it. Granted, I had some major drama go down while I was gone that summer, but still, even by October I was still homesick after going home between summer and fall semesters and twice during the semester. If you are still reading this and still saying “I am not home sick, I am going home the least amount possible.” Then you can stop reading and miss out on my awesome tips, your choice. Most of you are nodding your heads; some of you don’t want to admit it, but you are still reading because you know it’s true.

It’s very common to become homesick. Especially if you’re within driving distance of home, you may be tempted to go back within your first few weeks and I hope you fought that feeling. If you did go home, I hope you are feeling better now. But try to avoid going home often and give yourself time to experience your new college life. I rode a bus home for 4 hours almost every other weekend to go home because I was so homesick freshman year. I missed out on so many events where I could have made friends and gotten my mind off missing home. I regret that often when my friends reminisce on their weekend adventures freshman year and I think back to my tear filled bus rides back and forth. It was rough, but I survived and you will too, because you have me!

Believe it or not, you parents miss you just as much if not more, so putting on a front for them is not the best for either of you. Here are the top ways to combat homesickness (and even some mild depression, though I am not really authorized to talk on the topic).

Call, e-mail or video chat your family and even friends. You may find your friends are having the same issues you are. I use Skype since I do not have a Mac for iChat, I am just not cool enough. There are other services as well such as Oovoo and Google chat.  These are the best ways to ‘be with someone’ even if you are many miles apart when you feel home sick. These types of services are awesome, your parents miss you and you miss them, don’t deny it, call them.

Did I mention I am also a bit of a hippie…

As I have mentioned before, music is my lifeline. Not only does it help me crack down and my work done, it also puts me in a better mood when I am stressing or a bit depressed. I usually listen to my “John MayerPandora station which of course has John Mayer, but it also has some Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, The Script; with some Killers, Coldplay, Bob Marley and Sublime sprinkled with some oldies, such as The Eagles, Don Mclean, Credence Clearwater Revival, AC/DC, Steppenwolf, The Beatles, Guns and Roses, John Mellencamp, Jim Croce, and Queen: just to name

Man and his guitar…

a few. Basically give me some good quality oldies or a man and his guitar and I will instantly be in a better mood. Find your “happy music” and just let it play while you do work or steal a moment to actually relax for a bit. Music has amazing powers. According to PsyBlog, music can give us solace and diversion, as well as entertainment. The only negative, is that if you listen to sad music you will become more sad, so try not to do that. Lifehacker has some tips about music and its effect on mood as well. Music can actually boost our immune systems through decreasing stress and increasing levels of antibodies. Awesome! Music can even help you when exercising, which is also a great way to relieve stress, by distracting your attention (ouch my body hurts) and makes your heart rate increase.

Unless you go to school in the mountains, then you may have already missed out…

It is not too late to join clubs and groups, sure you may have missed out on some activities in the beginning, but most will accept new members all semester long. These groups are great ways to meet people outside you dorm and classes.  They often have events and socials you can go to to mingle with people or just have a weekend day/night to get away from the stresses of campus life and have some fun. As I had mentioned in an earlier post about making friends with your roommates and floormates. Bring them to these group meetings if you are wary of going alone. Maybe you both will have a new group of friends. Now is also a great time to go on a pumpkin picking adventure, visit a haunted house or  just wander outside, soaking in the last bit of nice weather for a long time.

Now if you really feel like you have to go home and see you puppy, I mean parents, there are many options to get you home if you are car-less (I was for the first three years, I know how it feels) Buses, trains, even planes can be available near your campus depending on where you are located. In terms of busses, I have rode Greyhound, Fullington Trailways and Megabus. Greyhound is the ‘good ol standby’, it is moderately priced, has a fair amount of hubs, and is on time within 15 minutes. Out of 6 trips, I only had one bad experience, and it was not really their fault. I took a Thursday morning bus, I had no class Fridays and my Thursday class ended up being cancelled, so I took the opportunity to get an earlier start. I handed the driver my ticket and climbed up the steps looking for a 2 seater I could take and hog it so I could sleep, college students are always tired. The first thing I realized was that everyone looked the same, they all had light blue, jean-like jackets on, the same type of pants and white t shirts. (Anyone figure it out yet?) The bus was packed already, it was a Thursday morning, what was the deal? I asked the first guy who looked nice if I could sit down, he said, “Sure hun, take a seat.” I sat down and listened to the conversations around me: “Hey you know what happened with John? Haven’t seen him in awhile.” “Oh, he will be in there another 3 months, he broke probation.” “You hear about Bob? He shanked a guard and is gonna be in there for a long time”. I wish I was joking about the story, I really do, but I was sitting on a bus surrounded by newly released inmates. I texted my dad what was going on and I hugged my backpack the whole trip and put my headphones in and hood up to try and pretend I was not there. Needless to say, that was my last time on a Greyhound bus.  Fullington Trailways was my next to try out, they were a bit more expensive ($5 or so dollars), but the busses were nicer and they had TVs with movies playing. They also had an “express service” from school to King of Prussia or Philadelphia, which shaved about an hour of the trip. I took Megabus once, everyone raved about how cheap it was. It was in a Walmart parking lot instead of the bus station, so it took some extra effort to get there, but for $5 it was no big deal. I was meeting a friend in Philadelphia who was going to bring me home since my parents were flying from Florida and could not pick me up. The bus ride started off on time, but we took a turn to go west on the turnpike, and drove for about an hour until we heard the driver call someone and say, I took a wrong turn I am going to be late to Philly. I looked on my phone map and we were certainly going to be late. No one else has every had that issue, but I still prefer Fullington for my excursions home.

I actually, never rode a train until about a year ago, but they are really great if your destinations are near stations or else they are really out of the way and don’t save much time compared to busses and are about the same price. If you are lucky enough to be near one, invest in those “frequent rider” cards to save some money. If you live really far away, then a plane is your only option. I would recommend only fly with a carry-on (unless it is for a long break, then bite the bullet) and take the earliest flight out and back. The last thing you need is your flight to be cancelled or delayed and it ruins you whole weekend. Flying is expensive, but if you fly at off peak times, you can really save.

It is only seven more weeks until Thanksgiving, when everyone will be heading home, you can do it!

Have any other questions about being homesick, or just want to talk? Feel free to comment and I will get back to you ASAP. Or follow me on Twitter at SamSepanak1 and I will answer you there, as well.

P.S. After finishing this post last night, I went to StumbleUpon and came across this little gem here. Little late for most, but very true nonetheless.

Also willing to take suggestions for future posts, if it sounds like a cool idea, I will write about it. If it sounds cool, but I don’t know about it, I will research it and write an awesome post anyways.